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THIS WEEK IN GAMING HISTORY: NINTENDO SWITCH AND PLAYSTATION 2 DEBUT, VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES SPARK DEBATE IN CONGRESS

This Week in Gaming History looks back at the biggest events and releases from throughout the years.

The Nintendo Switch made its grand debut four years ago when it was released worldwide on March 3, 2017. The console and handheld hybrid cut the lifespan of the Nintendo Wii U short after Nintendo stopped releasing first-party games on its previous console in the year before the Switch release. The Nintendo Switch currently sits pretty at more than 79 million units sold worldwide, surpassing the Nintendo 3DS and its 76 million units along with the Wii U’s nearly 14 million units, a low point for Nintendo overall. Time will tell if the success of the Switch can outpace record numbers from the original Wii’s 101.6 million units and the original Nintendo DS’ 154 million units sold.

The anniversary of the Nintendo Switch means it is also the anniversary of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Despite being one of the most recent games in the long-running series, Breath of the Wild has surpassed 21.5 million units sold worldwide, making it the best selling game in the franchise. A sequel was announced in 2019 and more information will be revealed later this year.

This week is also home to a few other console anniversaries. The PlayStation 2 hit store shelves for the first time when it released on March 4, 2000 in Japan. After releasing in North America and Japan the year prior, the Nintendo 64 finally made its way to Europe and Australia on March 1, 1997.

As talk of a link between crime and violent video games makes a resurgence in current events, a look at the history books reveals similar chatter. On Dec. 7, 1993, the first of two congressional hearings was held to address the release of games like Mortal Kombat, Night Trap and DOOM along with additional topics like rating systems, commercial ads targeted at children and even virtual reality. Senator Joe Lieberman, professor Eugene Povenzo and Sega of America vp Bill White were among those in attendance. The second hearing was held on March 5, 1994.

Noteworthy Releases, Anniversaries

Some big anniversaries are being celebrated this week. One of the last games Nintendo and Rare worked on together and one of the final releases on the Nintendo 64, Conker’s Bad Fur Day turns 20 years old this week. A remake was released four years later and the original game was included in the Rare Replay compilation in 2015.

Zelda gets some love with Breath of the Wild and Twilight Princess HD both having bowed just a year apart, in 2017 and 2016 respectively. Other notable anniversaries include Mass Effect 3, Pokemon Black and White, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and the reboots of both Tomb Raider and SimCity.

Take a look at some of the biggest releases during the current week from throughout the years below (this list focuses on releases in North America only).

March 1:

2005 | Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening (16 years)
2010 | Mega Man 10 (11 years)
2011 | Rift (10 years)
2019 | Dead or Alive 6 (2 years)

March 2:

1998 | Wario Land II (23 years)
2010 | Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (11 years)

March 3:

2009 | Halo Wars (12 years)
2009 | Empire: Total War (12 years)
2009 | Sonic and the Black Knight (12 years)
2016 | Black Desert Online (5 years)
2017 | The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (4 years)

March 4:

2001 | Conker’s Bad Fur Day (20 years)
2002 | Fatal Frame (19 years)
2008 | God of War: Chains of Olympus (13 years)
2014 | South Park: The Stick of Truth (7 years)
2016 | The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (5 years)

March 5:

2007 | Wario: Master of Disguise (14 years)
2013 | Tomb Raider (8 years)

March 6:

2006 | Tales of Phantasia (15 years)
2008 | Army of Two (13 years)
2011 | Pokemon Black and White (10 years)
2012 | Mass Effect 3 (9 years)
2013 | SimCity (8 years)

March 7:

2012 | I Am Alive (9 years)
2017 | NieR: Automata (4 years)
2017 | Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands (4 years)

Photo courtesy of Nintendo

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